I don’t feel very much like Pooh today,” said Pooh.
“There there,” said Piglet. “I’ll bring you tea and honey until you do”
There are a few things on the camino that aren’t much fun.
Blisters are really not fun… falling over is not fun… not finding a bed after a very long walk is not fun… and walking in the cold and rain is not fun.
The only thing worse than walking in the cold and rain… is getting up the next day and walking again in the cold and rain.
Last night’s albergue was snug. Three bunk beds side by side in a small cold room. There was to be no cat swinging here… and I had a top bunk. Although the silver lining from the small room was that I could use the wall to lean on when climbing up and down from my bed.
There was one small heater and we all placed our boots around it but we were kind of resigned to damp feet in the morning.
The albergue was part of a sports hall. It had a bar that offered drinks and snacks… no meals but it was too cold and wet to consider going elsewhere so I had a plate of chips… not very inspiring or healthy but it filled me up.
We were all cold and tired so we turned in around 8:30. And we all woke around 3:00 am when it sounded like the roof was about to lift. There was a huge storm. Ferocious wind and heavy rain. I went back to sleep but I did wonder what would greet us in the morning.
We opted for a shorter day today. It’s Sunday and there are precious few services around here on a week day… we don’t want to be stranded without food or shelter on a Sunday. We left around 8.30 and I knew it was another poncho day. It was raining as we left and oh it was so cold. And worse still there was no breakfast.
We walked back into the forest and the wind howled and the grey sky emptied above is. Oh did I mention it was cold. The ground was wet… very wet. There was debris from the storm everywhere. Chestnuts and walnuts covered the path along with a carpet of wet leaves and broken branches.
We walked through a village… even the church was closed.
More rain… more muddy tracks. Sometimes it was so wet that we had to leave the path and try and find a way through the forest on either side… I was snagged more than once by a few vicious bramble thorns.
It was very slow going today.
We came to another village. The church was closed but at least we could sit and eat a banana under the porch. We didn’t linger too long as it was just too cold. A little dog befriended us… he looked as wet and soggy as we did. I sent Gerry a message… I think I might have included the odd swear word.
I was miserable. Maggie shouted out that it was beatiful… was it I said. On we went through the sticky slippery mud. We came to a high point and looked ahead to the path. The sky was black over there and we still had 7km to go. Oh did I mention it was miserable.
To make matters worse we could hear the hunters guns around us. It’s very disconcerting as you wonder if they make allowances for pilgrims walking through the forest. We saw two deer run across the path and we hoped the hunters weren’t chasing them. I decided to stay closer to Maggie as her poncho is bright yellow and mine is a nice moss green!
On again we plodded and thankfully we left the wet muddy track and joined a small country road. I’m not usually a fan of walking on tarmac but given the choice between sticky forest mud or this I’m a tarmac girl. The only downside to the road was that it’s open so the wind whipped around us even more.
On we walked and finally we crossed over a motorway and we could see the town ahead. Just off the road we saw a huge sign… Hotel and Restaurant… ooooh thank you gods… thank you thank you thank you!
We jumped in and ordered before a coach load of visitors poured in. I guess we looked pretty wet as folks looked on with a sympathetic smile… inside I knew they were asking “why”… I was.
We ordered egg and chips and a large coffee… there were a lot of choices but I saw that and felt it would do… trying to think was impossible. I peeled off layer after layer of cold damp clothes and warmed my hands on the coffee.
We both decided without even needing to ask that another cold albergue was not an option. We needed a private room and some heat. We tried to book a room in that hotel but it was full. However every cloud does indeed have a silver lining because 1km down the road was a Parador. Special rate on Booking.com of 35 euro each. Oh thank you thank you thank you gods again.
So here we are. We have clothes hanging from every chair and boots drying by the door. I’ve had a very deep very hot bath and dried my hair with a hairdryer. I’ve washed my clothes and they are drying over the radiator in the bathroom. Oh and we have embossed cotton sheets too!
Today was not a fun day. Tomorrow apparently offers more of the same and we’ve been advised not to walk the trail as it’s impassable after storms. We’re in the mountains now and we don’t intend to ignore the advice… but for now I can only consider how soft this bed is and how warm I feel.
Ps In a weeks time Gerry will be here… I hope he’s ready for this isolated trail… no churros I’m afraid Gerry… but I did see this quote today and thought of you…
“There is nothing sweeter in this sad world than the sound of someone you love calling your name.”